Decolonising@Lincoln

Inclusive and Accessible Teaching and Learning

Decolonising our University means working together to reimagine our scholarship, interpersonal relations, teaching, learning, and professional practices by actively including previously marginalised knowledge and ways of knowing. This requires us to challenge the dominance of Euro-American knowledge and traditions and shape the content of what we teach and how we teach it. 

Equally important is decolonising the campus, with outreach work into the wider city and region. This includes revisiting the histories of the individuals after whom some of our buildings are named. 

Students, academic staff, and members of staff from professional services are all working together on the project as One Community to address these colonial legacies and create a more inclusive and accessible teaching and learning environment at Lincoln.

What Do We Mean by Decolonisation?

Decolonising at Lincoln

As a university, we have committed to recognise and uphold the five principles of our One Community Values: equality, understanding, listening, kindness, acceptance. The present project of decolonising our curriculum and pedagogy flows from and embeds this commitment. The forms this take will vary across the institution and be informed by our professional practice.

Yet while the approach we advocate is not prescriptive, there is currently an opportunity to critically question the ways in which our scholarship, teaching and practice have been shaped. The logics, hierarchies, assumptions, ways of life, and intellectual patterns upon which European colonialism was built, and which it spread across the globe, remain firmly entrenched.

Until recently, at least in the West, many of the most negative aspects of this legacy have gone largely unexamined. At its core, therefore, decoloniality requires a deep critical engagement with the multiple legacies of colonialism and a commitment to work for positive change for all those living in its aftermath. It is a shared commitment that the University must not be a site where acts or processes of oppression are (re)produced, supported, or experienced. Much of this project will be directed to addressing the ways in which the voices and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and other non-White people have been silenced, misrepresented, or suppressed. Yet we must also remain critically aware of the ways in which the legacies of colonialism continue to shape processes which marginalise people on the often-intersecting bases of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, dis/ability, and/or religion.

Regardless of our backgrounds, roles, or academic disciplines, a decolonial approach encourages us to examine the ways in which particular types and sources of knowledge have been marginalised, and to draw upon a broader range of voices, ideas, approaches, and intellectual perspectives from beyond Western and North American traditions.

Why Decolonise?

As teachers, learners, scholars, citizens, and thinkers we must recognise and understand that the disciplines we teach and the bodies of knowledge in which we teach, work and research are, in many cases, products of, colonial and postcolonial histories and reflect European and North American world views. Decolonising what we do as a university means broadening our awareness and appreciation of different ways of approaching teaching, learning, inquiry, and the transmission of knowledge and culture.

It is an opportunity for us to critically reflect upon our teaching philosophies and to actively develop our programmes and modules to include knowledges and perspectives that have often been marginalised and overlooked. Embracing an active commitment to decoloniality will lead to more positive educational experiences for our pluralistic community of scholars, researchers, teachers, and learners, align with the University’s internationalisation agenda and contribute to our graduates being better equipped for success in a diverse, globalized workplace.

What Does it Mean to Decolonise Our Curriculum and Pedagogy?

Decolonising our university means working together – in our thinking, scholarship, interpersonal relations, teaching, learning, and professional practice – in order to combat and redress the harms, negative influences, and forms of disadvantage associated with coloniality, racism, and ethnocentrism/Eurocentrism. It requires an active and ongoing process of reconsidering and reformulating the workings of our institution, disciplines, professional practices, and pedagogy in order to combat prejudice and to interrogate Western conceptions of knowledge, methodology, pedagogy, scholarship, and learning.

Decolonising our curriculum and pedagogy:

- provides space, support, and resource to enable deep, reflective, and collaborative review of our modules, programmes, and pathways, both in terms of content and delivery

- adds richness, diversity, and plurality to all that we do. It has the potential to shed new light on existing forms of knowledge and established debates

- helps ensure that all members of our teaching and learning communities feel fully able to participate in University life, and see their lives and experiences reflected and valued in their engagements with the institution

- supports and upholds a range of other University programmes, priorities, and values, including our One Community Values, the Internationalisation agenda, diversifying student recruitment, widening participation, improving non-White student attainment, and our deep-rooted commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusivity.

How Might We Begin Decolonising Our Curriculum and Pedagogy?

What a decolonial approach to teaching and learning entails will obviously vary by discipline and level and may need to be developed in ways that respect specific professional standards and regulatory frameworks. There is no one model that will be correct for all disciplines. However, as we embark on this journey together, the following key questions have been developed to prompt reflection and debate within module and programme teams:

Do our modules and programmes draw upon non-Western scholarship, knowledge, or sources? Do we situate our work within one tradition, or within multiple traditions? Are there hidden histories to our disciplines/subject areas which should be acknowledged and highlighted?

How might we embed a commitment to plurality and diversity of thought while safeguarding those aspects of our programmes and modules that already work well and deliver necessary content? How might we present orthodox approaches alongside or in dialogue with new materials?

How might we encourage the development of inclusive classroom cultures which

- build on ethical foundations?

- plan and implement learning activities that challenge non-inclusive thinking?

- value and encourage the sharing of students’ knowledge and experiences?

- help shape students' knowledge into action?

- challenge power relationships?

- ensure that space is provided for perspectives that might otherwise be underrepresented?

How do we draw upon traditions of sustainable thinking, including those from Indigenous and non-White knowledge sources, to deepen our appreciation for the environment and our relationship with it?

How much scholarship from non-Anglophone and non-Western sources do we offer to our students (both in their original languages and in translation), to introduce us and them to new perspectives?

To what extent do our degree and module design processes, assessment and feedback procedures, research supervisions and pedagogic practices reflect our commitment to decoloniality?

Are there models of best practice we can identify that are operating successfully at our institution or elsewhere?

How does one become part of a community of practice as we Re-Imagine Curriculum and Pedagogy for One Community?

Eleanor Glanville Institute

The Eleanor Glanville Institute is the University’s strategic lead for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. It provides the research evidence on EDI to inform and shape structures, policies, and practices across the University and aims to support and stimulate greater diversity in staff and students, and research and teaching, to foster a greater sense of belonging for all.

Access Inclusive Education Resource Hub
Two students chatting and reading a book in the library

Decolonising@Lincoln Competition

Students in the University's College of Arts have been taking part in a competition to design a new logo for the Decolonising@Lincoln project.

The competition brief asked students to create a recognisable and memorable image that would promote and highlight parts of the University Library collection which help amplify marginalised voices. The image will also be used on other material in the Library, across the University, and in its publicity material as the overarching theme for Decolonising@Lincoln.

Third year Illustration student, Cherry Wright, was the winner (see below) with Rhoda Datsomor, also a third year Illustration student, and Dinh Huy Truong, MA Design student, selected as runners up.

The competition was judged by a core team of School of Design academics, members from the Decolonising@Lincoln steering group, and Marilyn Clarke, Library Director at Goldsmiths University.

Winning Design by Cherry Wright

Cherry’s design has already been utilised in presentations and is on the cover of a ‘zine’ created for the recent Art Librarians Conference (ARLIS 2022). The zine was recognised at the conference and will feature at the British Library. It will also be used in a dedicated library space and within promotional materials including bookmarks and shelf-ends.

Visit the ARLIS 2022 Website
Decolonising@Lincoln design by Cherry Wright